Tonight seven players will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and each of the picks is well deserving:
- Bill Parcells, with three Super Bowl rings, is one of the greatest coaches in football history.
- Jonathan Ogden, the first ever pick of the Baltimore Ravens, who has opened up the debate of whether he’s the best Raven ever (Ray Lewis fans might have an argument there).
- Larry Allen, who played most of his career as a Pro Bowl guard with the Dallas Cowboys, with his incredible story of how football saved his life.
- Warren Sapp, the dominant pass rusher who made seven Pro Bowl appearances with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won a Super Bowl title.
- Cris Carter, the Minnesota Vikings’ great wide receiver.
- Curley Culp, one of the best defensive lineman in league history in his 14 seasons (Houston Oilers, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs).
- Dave Robinson, who played most of his 14 years with the Green Bay Packers, where he was considered one of the best linebackers of his era.
What we hope tonight: to come away from the ceremony with some memorable, heartfelt speeches. If any of the inductees at this last minute needs any reminders about how it’s done, these are our five top speeches from Hall of Fame ceremonies (irregardless of sport):
No. 5 Deion Sanders, Pro Football Hall of Fame (2011)
After a rambling beginning, Sanders got emotional talking about being ashamed of his mother as a child and what the game of football taught him in life.
No. 4 Michael Jordan, Pro Basketball Hall of Fame (2009)
You’d think that the man considered one of the most competitive athletes of our time would be humble during his Hall of Fame speech. Think again. Jordan took shots at many people including Leroy Smith (the guy who beat him out for a spot on his high school team), North Carolina teammate Buzz Peterson and former Utah Jazz guard Byron Russell. A YouTube comment on his hall of fame video summed up Jordan’s speech the best:
“He’s not like this because he’s the best… he’s the best because he’s like this.”
No. 3 Curtis Martin, Pro Football Hall of Fame (2012)
One of the classiest athletes you will ever encounter, Martin bought everyone to tears with the story about the abuse his mother faced from his father.
No. 2 Ted Williams, Baseball Hall of Fame 1966
Not everyone knows that in the midst of the struggle for civil rights for blacks during the 1960s, Ted Williams stood up during his hall of fame speech and urged the addition of Negro League players to Cooperstown:
“I’ve been a very lucky guy to have worn a baseball uniform, and I hope some day the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in some way can be added as a symbol of the great Negro players who are not here only because they weren’t given a chance.”
No. 1 Michael Irvin, Pro Football Hall of Fame (2007)
A deeply emotional offering form Irvin who spoke about his love for his mother, his appreciation for his family and how he overcame his demons.